The Purgatory Freestyle Ski Team had a stellar final week of its season, as two members claimed state titles at the Rocky Mountain Freestyle State Mogul Championships held last weekend at Winter Park.
Balin Kirk, 12, won the overall title in the Rocky Mountain Qualifiers Series open moguls competition with a score of 77.20 after two runs, while Cole Paczosa of Telluride was second with a score of 76.87. The field was made up of 44 competitors between the ages of 13 and 15. Kirk completed a 360-degree mute grab that won him the title.
Kirk’s sister, Amara, won the under-13 girls title and was fifth overall among skiers age 13 to 15. Her 13-and-under win gave Amara her third state championship in her age group in as many years, and had a score of 80.37.
Anabel Ayad took home the overall crown with a score of 84.61.
Program director Kirk Rawles was impressed with the Kirks, as well as the rest of his skiers.
“Both Amara and Balin are both really exceptional skiers,” Rawles said. “They’ve worked hard to get to this point and put in a lot of time this winter. Balin’s bottom air really did push him over the top, while Amara had great speed and really good turns. They both love to train and are very coachable, and it was thrilling to see when the results came in.”
The Kirk siblings were not the only skiers who fared well for Purgatory, as Corbett Thomas, 13, finished in fourth overall with a score of 74.95, which was second for the under-13 boys category. He also finished fourth in the dual mogul competition Sunday.
“Corbett lives in Albuquerque, and he trains with us on the weekend. To get fourth in singles and duals, that was quite the accomplishment,” Rawles said. “He had a great weekend, and I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.”
On Saturday, the Devo team had its state competition, where the racers also competed well. Lucy Klotz finished in 10th in the under-15 girls category, while Raquell Lutje and Montana Faherty took 13th and 15th in the under-13 division, respectively. Quinn Connors finished in seventh for the under-9 girls category.
“For our Devo skiers, this was their first year competing, and I think it was a good eye-opener to look around the field and see arguably the best division in the country in the Rocky Mountain Division,” Rawles said. “I think they were excited and want to do better now that they can see what it takes.”
On the boys side, Shea Morrissey took 12th for the under-11 group, while Chase Connors finished in 11th in the under-13 category.
“We really appreciate all of the support from both Purgatory and city of Durango and the hard-working crews that helped to make this possible,” Rawles said.